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Wheel Upgrade Boosts Carrying Capacity
If you wear out pickup tires every 20,000 to 30,000 miles, it may be time to switch to heavy-duty wheels with commercial-duty tires.

You can replace factory-installed 16-in. light truck wheels with 19 1/2-in., heavy-duty wheel and commercial tires from Rickson Truck Wheels. Weight ratings will jump from 3,200 to 5,000 lbs. At the same time, the weight capacity will go from 3,400 lbs. to 4,940 lbs.

"Ultimately it's all about the tire. Our wheels allow the use of commercial-duty tires on vehicles that do not come equipped with them," says Heather Knutson, director of marketing. "We manufacture direct bolt-on, replacement wheels for 3/4 and 1-ton vehicles in single and dual rear wheel applications as well as vans, trailers and more. The wheels are made with the same bolt circle, bore and offset as the factory wheels, so you can still use the factory lug nuts and hub covers."

Rickson offers five different sizes of tires to fit their heavy-duty wheels. The company claims the heavy-duty wheels and commercial grade tires will last two to four times longer, provide improved stability, handling and fuel economy, and guarantee a smoother ride. Knutson is quick to point out that changing the wheels doesn't change the gross vehicle weight rating. However, she adds that wheels and tires are the weak link on any vehicle.

"We know that many of our customers sometimes run over their tire's weight limit," says Knutson. "What we sell is peace of mind by fortifying the most vulnerable point on the vehicle. Commercial-duty tires are dramatically stronger with steel sidewalls and casings."

Longer tire life is also credited to reduced rolling resistance due to a higher quality tire rubber in the commercial-grade tires. Another advantage of commercial-grade tires is that they're made to be re-treaded. Knutson also says the slightly taller tires lower a vehicle's rpm's for gains in fuel economy.

Prices vary by wheel width and styles. For example, a single 19.5 by 6.75-in. powder-coated steel rear wheel for a Dodge 2500 is priced at $262.97. A 19.5 by 7.50-in. chrome wheel is priced at $379.72. Wheels are also available in alumicoat, a polished ceramic aluminum coating, or polished forged aluminum. Rickson also makes and sells optional full wheel covers that are mirror polished, 304 stainless steel. They're the only aftermarket wheel covers made in the U.S.

Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Rickson Truck Wheels, 11204 McCormick Road, Hunt Valley, Md. 21031 (ph 410 771-9501; toll free 800 587-7633; fax 410 771-9504; info@ricksontruck.com; www. ricksontruck.com).

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2009 - Volume #33, Issue #2